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By Elaine McKinney

Almost had two of my own.

The second one dropped
out of me early like running lines of blood within
fast and early clots, running an embryonic run,
barely 6-weeks old, running
like a child in its terrible twos.
Here we go again…
slipping and falling from life
so soon before we could bond.

Another entering the fetal stage
met 5 rough days
surrounded by cramping waves.
We clung to the sides of the boat
until our fight collapsed.
Disattached from me this
brief ball of joy tumbled through my warm
red womb into a hospital toilet…

That was the first one and the hardest.

Soft when I scooped it up
unlike anything I’d ever touched
I marveled at this under-developed infancy as it rested
in my palm.
Smooth, damp, round like a semi-circle trying to close
wrapped and twisted around itself
still and greyish, and small, not
yet looking like me or anyone else
looking more like a tadpole than

human life. This would have been life in its
eariest form…instead I stroked a part of
life and of me that is
impermanent, undeveloped, and sad.

Not time, nor career, or travel
or friends, or faith, or family, or
divorce, or good weather days or dogged soaky days –
can stop the tears that flow every now and then
strictly for the little lives that were and
might have been.